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Law and Promise

Daily Reading: Galatians 3

Scripture Focus: Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! (Galatians 3.21a)

Devotional Thought: Evangelicals tend to struggle with the tension between grace and law. We, like our Protestant forebear, Martin Luther, know salvation is by grace alone, through faith. Those of us raised in a 'legalistic' environment, tend to overcompensate to avoid being seen as judgmental. Paul, however, was perfectly content to live with the tension. Yes, we are saved by grace. Yes, our salvation is inexorably linked to obedience. Certainly, the Law was not contrary to grace.

Paul would say following the Law does not bring us salvation, but he would also say the Law brings us to salvation. The Law is our schoolmaster, teaching us of the need of grace. The Law is our prosecutor, proving to us that we cannot be saved by works. And, the Law is our trainer, helping us to know the will and way of the Lord.

Is the Law, then, 'contrary to the promises of God'? Certainly not!

The Greek word translated contrary is "kata", and means down from, against, or throughout. The context helps determine the meaning of the word in particular usage. In this case, all the meanings apply:

· Is the Law down from the promises of God? Certainly not! The way of the Law must come first, or there is no need for grace.

· Is the Law against the promises of God? Certainly not! The Law's very purpose is to lead us to grace.

· Is the Law throughout the promises of God? Certainly not! The Bible says that God has made a new way. The old way of the written code has passed away, and we no longer serve according the Law, but by the Spirit of grace.

We're not afraid of the Law because we are under grace!

Prayer: Thank you, O Lord, for the wonderful grace of Jesus! And, thank you for the Law that leads me to grace. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 106.32-39

32 They angered him at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account, 33 for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips.

34 They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them, 35 but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did. 36 They served their idols, which became a snare to them. 37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; 38 they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood. 39 Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.

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